Tagged in: Warriors

Steve Kerr, Golden State Warriors thrilled to have ‘the old Klay’ Thompson back at official practice

Golden State Warriors swingman Klay Thompson is starting to look more like his old basketball self amid his rehabilitation from a torn right Achilles injury.

Participating in his first official team practice since suffering the injury in an offseason workout Nov. 18, 2020, Thompson knocked down shots from all over the court, much to the delight of his teammates and coaches.

“Klay looked great,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr stated after his team’s first practice Tuesday. “Shooting the lights out. His team won the daily shooting competition. And he was smiling, laughing, joking around, it was really fun to see the old Klay back.”

Thompson, who hasn’t played in an NBA game since June 13, 2019, after suffering a torn ACL in his left knee in Game 6 of the NBA Finals against the Toronto Raptors, has been bouncing around the team’s facility in good spirits in recent days as he looks forward to the opportunity to play competitively again.

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“Everyone’s excited that Klay is out on the floor,” Kerr said. “He basically did every single thing in practice today. We didn’t scrimmage, we didn’t have any live contact, but Klay is just so happy to be playing and we’re all so happy to see him part of it. So just a really good first day, first couple of days, and good energy as we start to get rolling.”

While Thompson’s return is still several months away, Kerr acknowledged that the former All-Star’s presence in practice has given the rest of his group an emotional boost.

“Part of it is his spirit, his energy, his joy,” Kerr said. “A big part of it too is, ‘Yeah, we got Klay.’ The confidence level as a group — we’re getting Klay back. It makes us all feel better. And that’s the sense that I have from our guys.”

While the Warriors are hesitant to put a specific return date on Thompson’s comeback as he continues rehabbing, general manager Bob Myers said during Monday’s media day that the organization’s hope is that some time, likely in December or January, Thompson comes to the coaches and front office and says he’s ready to play again — in consultation with the team’s medical staff.

Thompson noted on Monday that “I’m probably like 75 or 80 percentile of what I need to do,” as far as rehab goes. Either way, the Warriors are glad that Thompson is inching closer to a return — and they can see that the extended rehab process from two career-altering injuries has made the 31-year-old embrace the game, and the world around him, even more.

“I think his time away brought him a lot of suffering,” Kerr said. “Because the thing he likes best was taken away from him. It’s the first time that’s ever happened. And so, while he was away he had to go through some struggles that probably illuminated some of the struggles that other people have every day.

So it’s a pretty natural time to be sort of growing at that age, and emotionally expanding. And none of that surprises me given what we’ve known about Klay over the years. “He’s a deeply compassionate, aware person. He just doesn’t always show it to the world.”

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Detroit Pistons, Blake Griffin agree to contract buyout

Six-time NBA All-Star Blake Griffin has agreed to a contract buyout with the Detroit Pistons and will become an unrestricted free agent, the team revealed Friday.

The Brooklyn Nets, Golden State Warriors, Miami Heat and Portland Trail Blazers are expected to be among the teams Griffin will be considering for his next stop, sources tell ESPN.

Griffin, 31, is expected to make a decision on his next team after conversations with prospective teams, sources said.

“Blake has been a great representative for our franchise and for the city of Detroit,” owner Tom Gores said in a statement Friday. “His work ethic and his approach to the game contributed a lot to our culture. He has been a consummate pro and we wish him continued success.

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“I’m grateful for everything he did for our team and for our community.”

Finding a trade for Griffin — who was owed a remaining $36.6 million this campaign and $39 million in 2021-22 prior to the buyout — was an insurmountable challenge for the Pistons.

Detroit concluded a reduction in his remaining salary to gain free agency with Griffin’s agent, Sam Goldfeder of Excel Sports, since the sides mutually agreed he would leave the active roster on Feb. 15 awaiting a trade or buyout.

“I thank the Pistons organization for working together on an outcome that benefits all involved and I wish the franchise success in the future,” Griffin said in a statement released by the team.

Detroit has entered a full-fledged rebuild under first-year general manager Troy Weaver, and the chance to play the franchise’s younger players has taken precedence for the Pistons.

Injuries have dramatically altered Griffin’s game, eliminating the high-flying rim attacks that marked his All-Star career. He’s averaging 12.3 points, 5.2 rebounds and 3.9 assists for Detroit this season.

Griffin was traded less than a season into a five-year, $171 million max deal with the LA Clippers, arriving in Detroit in late January 2018.

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Warriors vs Thunders

Warriors vs Thunders

The Golden State Warriors, after staving off elimination with a furious fourth-quarter rally on Saturday night, hold the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game 7 of the Western Conference Finals on Monday, May 30, 2016, at Oracle Arena in Oakland, California.

The Thunder, which once led 3-1 in the series, must win at Oracle, where the Warriors have lost only three games this season.

The Game 7 winner advances to the NBA Finals to meet the LeBron James and  the Cleveland Cavaliers, who are the Eastern Conference champions.

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The Oklahoma City Thunder advance to their second NBA Finals with a road victory here. The Oklahoma City Thunder are averaging 107.5 points on 45.7 percent shooting and allowing 101.4 points on 44.7 percent shooting. Kevin Durant is averaging 28.5 points and 7.1 rebounds while Russell Westbrook is averaging 26.4 points and 10.9 assists. Serge Ibaka is grabbing 6.4 rebounds and Dion Waiters is dishing 2.4 assists. The Oklahoma City Thunder are shooting 33.7 percent from beyond the arc and 78.7 percent from the free throw line. The Thunder are allowing 36.3 percent shooting from deep and are grabbing 46.9 rebounds per game. The Oklahoma City Thunder are 5-3 on the road this postseason.

The Golden State Warriors can advance to a second straight NBA Finals with a victory here. The Golden State Warriors are averaging 111.9 points on 46.6 percent shooting and allowing 105.6 points on 42 percent shooting. Klay Thompson is averaging 26.5 points and 3.9 rebounds while Stephen Curry is averaging 25.6 points and 5.9 assists. Draymond Green is grabbing 9.8 rebounds and Shaun Livingston is dishing 3.7 assists. The Golden State Warriors are shooting 40 percent from beyond the arc and 73.6 percent from the free throw line. The Warriors are allowing 34.7 percent shooting from deep and are grabbing 44.4 rebounds per game. The Golden State Warriors are 8-1 at home this postseason.

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Last Games Series recap

Game 4: The Warriors suffered another blowout loss, 118-94 as the Thunder took a 3-1 series lead. Two of the Warriors’ biggest stars — Curry and Green — played poorly when the team needed them most if Golden State had hopes of regaining home-court advantage. Curry scored 19 points on 6-for-20 shooting, including 2 of 10 from 3-point range. Green had six points and was 1 of 7 from the field. Both players had six turnovers apiece. Westbrook had 36 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists and Durant scored 26.

Game 5: Andrew Bogut played perhaps his best game as a Warrior, scoring 15 points, grabbing 14 rebounds and blocking two shots in a 120-111 victory that kept Golden State’s hopes alive. Curry had a bounce-back game with 31 points and five steals and Green looked more like himself, especially at the defensive end with 13 rebounds and four blocks. Durant scored 40 but was only 12 for 31 from the field. Westbrook scored 31 but was 11 for 28.

Game 6: Klay Thompson set an NBA playoff record with 11 3-pointers on his way to a career playoff high of 41 points as the Warriors evened the series with a 108-101 victory at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Curry, who didn’t score until 7:20 remained in the second quarter, finished with 31 points and made a couple of big plays down the stretch, including a 3-pointer with 2:47 remaining that tied the score at 99-99. Durant scored 29 and Westbrook 28 for the Thunder.

 

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